Ricciardo: Not worth taking new Renault engine updates

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Daniel Ricciardo does not believe it is worth Red Bull using the updated Renault power unit for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix unless it provides a massive pace increase.

Red Bull has struggled throughout 2015 thanks to the deficiencies of its Renault power unit, leading to a turbulent on-again-off-again saga between the two parties heading into 2016.

As things stand, Red Bull is yet to formally cut ties with Renault despite expressing a strong desire to do so earlier this year, knowing that the French manufacturer could in fact be the only option for an engine supply.

Ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Renault is understood to have spent the majority of its remaining development tokens in a bid to improve its power unit for the final four races of the season.

However, Ricciardo revealed in Thursday’s FIA press conference that it was unlikely Red Bull would take the updates, believing any possible gain to be countered by the grid penalty that would need to be served.

“It’s available if we want to use it,” Ricciardo confirmed. “Obviously that would mean a penalty, though, so we’ve got to understand if it’s worth it.

“Last I heard, it’s not massive so from my understanding it’s probably not worth taking it.

“I think we’re down such a chunk that I don’t think we’re going to gain enough in this short time to make it up so if we start from the back, I don’t think we’re going to make [up] the ground we need.

“Right now, I would say we’re probably less likely to take it. That’s about it. Hopefully today they tell me something different and we’ve found a bigger chunk of horsepower from it but I think realistically there’s not a whole lot.”

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.